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Algeria, US hold first strategic dialogue

By Walid Ramzi for Magharebia in Algiers – 31/10/12

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Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and several top ministers met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Algiers on Monday (October 29th) to discuss the situation in the Sahel and the crisis in Mali.

"I very much appreciated the president's analysis, based on his long experience, as to the many complicated factors that have to be addressed to deal with the internal insecurity in Mali and the terrorist and drug trafficking threat that is posed to the region and beyond," Clinton said after the talks.

Further consultations with regional and international partners, such as the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations, will be held "to determine the most effective approaches that we should be taking" to resolve the Mali issue, Clinton said.

Clinton's visit came ten days after the first-ever Algerian-American strategic dialogue. The historic summit, held in Washington DC, focused on strengthening co-operation between the two countries at the political, security and economic levels.

Algeria and the United States "both face the same challenges to their security", Algerian Maghreb and African Affairs Minister Abdelkader Messahel said after the dialogue concluded on October 19th.

Threats such as terrorism, organised crime and the migration phenomena "are realities that... require co-ordinated international action", he said.

Messahel pointed out that relations between Algeria and the United States have taken on "such scope and significance that boosting them, in a formalised framework, has naturally become imperative, particularly at a time when threats have expanded and factors of uncertainty have dangerously multiplied throughout the world".

"The United States will always find in Algeria a reliable and credible partner that will be able to play its part, modest as it may be, in the consolidation peace in the world," Messahel added.

According to International Relations professor Mohamed Sameem, "Clinton's visit is a sign of the American willingness to listen to the positions of the countries of the region concerning the Malian crisis."

It is clear, he added, that "Washington would not take any step without the support of these countries, led by Algeria".

"The experience gained by Algeria for years in confronting terrorist organisations, including al-Qaeda, has made it a centre of gravity in the region. Other countries are seeking to transfer this experience and implement it during the military intervention in northern Mali,' Sameem told Magharebia.

Strong security co-operation between the two countries had already been confirmed by mutual visits of official delegations, he said.

For his part, former diplomat and Communication Minister Abdul-Aziz Rahabi said that Clinton's visit serves as recognition by the US of the fact that Algeria possesses ''experience and capabilities'' in the fight against terrorism.

The strategic dialogue in itself reflects the "special relationship" between Algeria and Washington, Rahabi added.

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    sissoko 2012-12-3

    Mali has no friends. There is no truth in this world. The United Nations are not involved in these affairs; these are armed gangs that occupied the North. They are doing everything there: massacring and committing violence against women and children. What did the United Nations do? They are aware of all of this. The Secretary General of the United Nations does not like Mali.


  2. Anonymous thumb

    Bara Tenenkou 2012-11-29

    Mali and Algeria are two brotherly countries linked by history and geography. Despite their common fight for the independence of Algeria (the source of the rebellion in Mali) and the numerous solutions to get out of the crisis (which was never stable), Algeria finds itself in an insidious position because its position is still unclear, in any case, to the Malians. Or if our dear Algeria has a stranglehold on the North, may it clear things up for us on this point; otherwise, why oppose a military intervention in northern Mali? What should that bother Algeria and what do the six other neighbours have to say?


  3. Anonymous thumb

    tahar 2012-11-4

    This is not normal.


  4. Anonymous thumb

    خليل خليل 2012-11-4

    All countries associated with the United States of America won’t see any good. Moreover, relations between the United States of America and Arab states are oil interests in its favor and in the favor of governments not in favor of the Arab peoples. The interest of the USA in Algeria is not because Algeria has experience. This is just a fancy lie. It is just interested in it so that it will push it to fight terrorism in its place. It wants in particular to push it to the Malian scene which in case it enters it will be certainly a loser. Therefore, Algerian officials shouldn’t be deceived and always be aware that the USA is evil in the shape of humans.